Mediterranean Terrine

(Aug. 6, 2021) What does color and taste have in common? It might be more than you think.

Do you remember when green ketchup hit the shelves of supermarkets? I bet you did not know sprite was once a brown beverage.

Or, how about when Burger King promoted their black hamburger buns that were infused with A1 sauce. These are examples of companies changing the color of their products to increase their profits.

Food scientists, culinary historians and marketers have long speculated what exactly is the relationship between color and taste. Most would agree that the color and the degree of its intensity influences multisensory perception.

Our first impression of food is key to our acceptance. As we observe it, a signal is sent to our brain that determines the taste of the food before we actually consume it, predetermining the expected taste of the food. As a result, if the color is not appealing, the delicious taste may go unnoticed.

In addition, we associate colors with food and equate these colors with certain flavors. For example, black colored food should be bitter or have a burnt flavor, bright colors are perceived as sweet or sour, and red is thought of as spicy.

We also rely on color to determine the level of ripeness and freshness. So, if the color of a food product does not match our expectations, we will distinguish its taste differently.

Color also plays a significant role in the art of plating. Color increases the beauty of food and should be carefully thought out as one is arranging the individual components of a plate or buffet.

That being said, terrines are a fabulous way of showcasing color. Terrines are a French dish made with meats, seafood, vegetables and even fruits. Terrines also refer to the covered, glazed earthenware dish that gives the prepared food its classic look.

Ingredients are layered and placed in the terrine in such a way that when you cut it, each slice reveals a pattern. Terrines come with a weighted plate; and this is placed on the layered food as it is resting to remove any air bubbles.

Terrines are served either cold or room temperature and usually incorporate fat, flavored jelly, or gelatin to hold the food together.

Terrines can be intimidating at first. But once one understands the process of layering, it is actually a simple process but is time consuming. Beautification and finesse are a must.

Following are two recipes. A Mediterranean Terrine that includes goat cheese, roasted peppers, kalamata olives, and fresh basil is provided for those enjoy the intricacies of fine dining.

If time is of the essence and one prefers a simplified version, a Mediterranean Amuse Bouche has been provided. The same ingredients are layered in a tall shot glass served with a miniature spoon.

Both of these appetizers are a stunning way to showcase the colors and flavors of Mediterranean cuisine. Feel free to improvise according to personal preference. Enjoy!

Mediterranean Terrine

Ingredients

½ head of garlic, separated into cloves, unpeeled

2 tablespoons extra-virgin live oil plus extra for garnishing

2 yellow tomatoes, seeded, cored, and chopped

1 cup roasted peppers, drained, and chopped

½ teaspoon Herbs de province

½ teaspoon dried thyme

½ tablespoon white balsamic vinegar

1/8 cup milk

½ package powdered gelatin

8 ounces Boursin or favorite flavored goat cheese

½ cup combined pitted oil cured olives and pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

1/2 cup fresh whole basil, plus extra for garnishing

kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Preheat toaster oven to 225 degrees. Place garlic cloves in a small ovenproof dish. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil on garlic. Cover with tin foil and bake for 1 hour or until garlic is very soft.

2. Place chopped tomatoes and roasted peppers in paper towels to remove any excess liquid. This keeps the liquid from bleeding into the other layers.

3. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, peppers, Herbs de Province, thyme, white vinegar, and salt.

4. Place milk in a small saucepan, and sprinkle gelatin over it. Let it stand for 5 minutes to soften. Bring milk to a simmer over low heat, whisking until gelatin has dissolved. Add goat cheese and whisk until well blended.

5. Line a ¾-quart terrine pan with plastic wrap, leaving a 3-inch overhang on the long sides of the pan. Place a layer of fresh basil leaves in the prepared pan.

6. Place goat cheese mixture in a piping bag with favorite tip. Pipe one-third of the goat cheese on top of the basil leaves. Add one-half of the olives to form the next layer. Cover with one-half of the tomato/pepper mixture. Repeat layering one more time and top with remaining goat cheese. Fold plastic wrap to cover the terrine. Place the weight on top, cover, and refrigerate for at least 13 hours.

7. To serve: Peel back the plastic wrap from the terrine, and invert onto cutting board. Cut terrine into 1-inch slices. Transfer to plates, garnish with fresh basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and ground pepper. Hot crusty bread can be served as an accompaniment (optional).

Mediterranean Amuse Bouche

Ingredients

yellow tomatoes, seeded, cored, and finely chopped

roasted peppers, finely chopped

pitted oil cured and Kalamata black olives, finely chopped

Boursin or favorite flavored goat cheese

fresh basil, finely chopped

1. Place roasted peppers and tomatoes in paper towels to remove any excess liquid.

2. Using a piping bag, pipe the cheese into the base of the shot glass. Layer the basil, tomatoes/peppers, cheese, and black olives until the shot glass is filled.

3. Refrigerate for 30 minutes and serve with a mini spoon.

* A terrine dish and glass shot glasses used for appetizer purposes can be purchased at Amazon.

Secret Ingredient – Options. “An artist has only two options: fail or never begin.”

– Marty Rubin

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